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3 Hot Careers for Recent College Graduates


Brand-new college grads are always nervous about starting their careers, but the post-recession economic landscape makes today’s workplace an even scarier place. To help younger workers focus their career building efforts, UC San Diego Extension compiles an annual list of hot jobs for new grads.

graduation caps 

(Photo Credit: j.o.h.n. walker/Flickr)

What defines a “hot job”? The research team at UC San Diego started off by looking at jobs that currently employed more than 150,000. They narrowed that list by looking at occupations where at least 25 percent of the job holders had a bachelor’s degree, and then cross-referenced that with jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics feels will grow between now and 2020. Other factors included median salary, and work-life balance factors like duration of work week and consequences for errors.

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Finally, the researchers looked at “bridgeability” — the ease with which recent grads could “bridge to” these jobs with minimal on-the-job or post-graduate training. (In other words, don’t look for jobs like anesthesiologist, which pay a lot but require a lot of training, on this list.)

Here are the top three:

1. Software Developers

Applications developers and systems software developers are tied for the top spot on the list. If you have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or computer science, you might be able to make the move to one of these careers, which often require programming skills, but not advanced degrees.

Salary range: $43,144 – $101,963

2. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists/Data Miners

If you have strong communication and quantitative skills, and love digging in data to forecast trends, these jobs might be a perfect fit for you. Market research analysts and data miners work for everyone from big-box retail chains to nonprofits.

Salary range: $35,081 – $78,610

3. Accountants

You don’t need to be a CPA to have a future in this field, which includes positions in the public and private sectors, and encompasses everything from budgeting to compliance to eliminating waste and preventing fraud. A bachelor’s in accounting is usually the best way to break into the field. 

Salary range: $31,090 – $65,725

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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